Multiple Australian Open qualifying hopefuls test positive to COVID-19
14 January, 2021, 18:29
A Moroccan tennis player says his opponent's positive COVID-19 test result was announced during their Australian Open qualifying match, leaving them both out of the tournament.
Players were required to return a negative test prior to competing in the qualifying events, with the men's event being held in Doha and women's event hosted concurrently in Dubai.
According to Benchetrit, the duo were allowed to finish the game to round off the match, which delivered a disappointing result for the Moroccan, who is also now concerned about contracting the disease.
It's unclear whether Benchetrit will be deemed a close contact and be forced to isolate.
"Local health authorities, the tournament physician and medical team are monitoring each individual".
The turn of events is good news for 19-year-old Queenslander Dane Sweeny, who was supposed to face world No.114 Kudla in his second match, but instead scores a walkover straight into final-round qualifying.
Kudla is the second tennis player sent to imprisonment during this phase of the first Grand Slam of the year, which takes place in Qatar after Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina.
Australian Open organizers said all players who started in the qualifying tournament had returned at least one negative test after arriving into Doha, where they were tested on arrival and isolated until they returned a negative result. "For Kudla and the others, it was the third test so it is nearly certain that he was not positive before arriving here and that he was contaminated in Doha". Benchetrit told the Tennis Majors website by telephone.
Kudla broke serve to win the match, meaning both he and Benchetrit were out of the tournament.
"The concept of a test is to have the information up front, to not put the lines people, the opponent or - quite simply - everyone the person might meet before or after their match in danger", he said.
"There also are lucky losers who are waiting for a forfeit to be able to play, who travelled there for nothing".
The board is truncated, there is going to be a player in the 3rd round of the qualifications having played only one match, that's also the problem.
Players for the Australian Open, scheduled to begin on February 8, will also be tested on arrival and isolate until they receive a negative test.